Parents’ Edition: 6 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Braces
11 February 2022
Your child might see his or her friends wearing it or even heard the dentist recommend it. Braces is nothing out of the ordinary but embarking on its journey can be a little nerve-wrecking if your child is unprepared.
The process of preparation is useful in many ways as it helps everyone, including teenagers, to manage expectations as well as to reduce fear and anxiety. There are many topics to discuss, questions to address and all these will be helpful in contributing to a more positive braces journey for your child.
We share 6 tips to help you prepare your child for braces!
Tip #1 Include your child in the decision-making process
There is no denying that as parents, you’ll know what’s best for your child. When it comes to deciding on the details for your child’s braces journey, you would have weighed all possible options, identified the right dentist, did your research and so on.
While you might think that it’s solely your duty to do all the homework, including your child in this process and the decisions that will involve in his or her braces journey can be helpful for your child. As a matter of fact, this step can build the excitement in your child as well!
One way is to help your child understand their orthodontic treatment options and to learn why braces is the best possible option. It’ll be helpful to focus on the benefits of wearing braces to help your child learn why this journey is important.
Also, when at the dentist, allow your child to make decisions such as choosing the colour of the rubber bands and even filling up his or her details on the form. These simple initiatives can do wonders in preparing your child for braces and its journey.
Tip #2 Fill your child in on the process
The fear of the unknown can create high levels of anxiety. This can easily be avoided by helping your child learn and understand about the procedures involved when getting braces. You should also check in with your child along the way and be open to any questions that your child might have. Feel free to have your child’s dentist address those questions if needed.
If you find that your child is overwhelmed with information, you could breakdown your explanation to only share what to expect for their upcoming visit and you can repeat the process subsequently. Taking it one step at a time can be helpful and of course, if you have had braces fitted previously, sharing your experience will be really helpful for your child too. It also makes a great conversation at the dinner table.
Tip #3 Visit the dentist frequently
Braces is not an overnight decision and as a matter of fact, it should not be a rushed decision either. Most children will need some time before agreeing to go on this journey.
You can prepare your child for braces by making frequent visits to the dentist. When you do so, you’re helping your child get comfortable with the clinic environment as well as getting themselves acquainted with the dentist and the clinic staff. A familiar face and environment will calm one’s nerves anytime and therefore, visiting the dentist frequently will definitely be helpful.
Tip #4 Set real expectations
Braces is an investment that does not only involve money but also time and effort from you and your child. It’s always good to set your child’s expectations to avoid any shortcomings.
You’ll need to help your child understand the commitments needed from his or her end such as proper braces-specific dental care and abstaining from certain types of food. When your child’s expectations are managed, he or she would most likely be more diligent with the braces routine and commit to the requirements of wearing braces.
Tip #5 Teach your child about dental emergencies
The teenage years are one of the most active years of a child’s life and of course, wearing braces should not stop your child from enjoying it.
However, it cannot be denied that the possibility of a dental emergency might pop up. For example, irritation in the mouth, loose or broken braces brackets and discomfort might call for an additional visit to the dentist.
You can avoid panic and help your child learn the next steps to take in the event of a dental emergency during their braces journey. Here are some solutions you can teach your child:
- Broken brackets: The bracket might be broken partially or entirely. Teach your child to wash his or her hands prior to touching their mouth and examining the bracket. If the bracket has fallen off entirely, do pick it up and make an appointment with your i.Dental dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, if there are any wires that are hurting your child’s mouth, you could clip it with a nail clipper and place orthodontic wax around the area until your child visits the dentist.
- Loose brackets: For loose brackets, contact your child’s dentist as soon as possible. Your child’s dentist will advise on the next steps to take. If the bracket is rubbing against your child gums or soft tissues in the mouth, do place orthodontic wax on the area.
- Irritation or discomfort in the mouth: It is normal to feel some discomfort when wearing braces and orthodontic wax comes in handy. Teach your child how to use orthodontic wax correctly to help alleviate discomfort.
- Injury or trauma to the teeth, mouth or face: This is a dental emergency that will require immediate attention from a dentist. Have your child carry his or her dentist’s card in their bag and if such an emergency arises, do let your child know to contact you, your partner or show the dentist’s card to the teacher.
Tip #6 Stock up on essentials for the journey
Creating a comfortable environment for your child can help to give your child a more positive experience. You should stock up on soft foods to help your child get the nutrients he or she needs without having to worry too much about experiencing discomfort from chewing tough foods. Some ideas of soft foods include tofu, porridge, yoghurt, scrambled eggs and pancakes.
As your child adjusts to wearing braces, he or she might feel some discomfort. You should have orthodontic wax at hand as it is a simple way to reduce discomfort in your child’s mouth. Also known as braces wax or dental wax, using orthodontic wax, all you’ll need to do is to roll the wax between the tip of your fingers to soften it and press it onto the bracket. The good news is, most dentists such as at i.Dental, will provide orthodontic wax as needed.
Preparing your child for braces should start as early as possible and it should be done according to your child’s pace. This will help your child digest information better and it’ll prevent a rise in anxiety levels. Book a consultation today to learn how our dentists can help you and your child prepare for his or her braces journey.